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Merging railway services could compromise safety: RJD MP on standing panel writes to PM Modi

In a letter, MP and member of Standing Committee of Railways Manoj Jha, says merger proposal brought without consensus of non-technical civil servants.

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New Delhi: The decision to merge the eight railways services is against the principles of natural justice and could give rail safety “a strong beating”, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP and a member of the Standing Committee of Railways Manoj Kumar Jha has said in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Jha, in the letter dated 15 January, delved into a number of issues arising as a result of the merger of civil and technical railway services into a single Indian Railways Management Service (IRMS).

The Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS) and the Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS) do not hold any physical assets and are, by virtue of being civil services, neutral and impartial, Jha wrote in the letter.

“Merger of these services with cadres holding physical assets will erode the checks and balances of this mammoth organisation,” he added.

In a surprise announcement made in December last year, the Narendra Modi government declared the merger of eight railways services to end “departmentalism” in the railway sector, encourage comprehensive and smooth working, and expedite decision-making.

However, the stated aim of the government to end departmentalism cannot be achieved through this merger since the UPSC would still be hiring domain-specific recruits like electrical, mechanical etc. as technical services, and finance, operations and human resource as general services, Jha wrote.

“This means still officers will continue to be posted to separate departments and departments will continue to exist,” he said, adding, “This will not end but sustain departmentalism.” 

Also read: All you want to know about the 8 railway services set to be merged, and the role they play

‘Change of service conditions goes against natural justice’

The Rajya Sabha MP further said the merger of civil services with recruits from Engineering Service Examination (ESE) is incorrect as the recruitment rules, nature of examination, qualifications required, purpose of examination, etc. are all different. 

“The change of service conditions midway goes against ‘natural justice’ and the ‘informed decision making’ done while applying for CSE,” he said.

The problem of departmentalism has surfaced in the Railways because the posts of general managers (GM) have consistently been going to technical services.

“The proposal for merger has also been brought up without consensus and consent of non technical civil servants in particular whose representation at GM’s rank is only 3 out of 27,” he said.

The government’s move has demotivated cadre officers across the country and must be reconsidered, he argued.

Govt seems to be going ahead with its plan

ThePrint had earlier reported how the announcement has led to panic across the railway cadres, with officers calling the decision arbitrary and unfair. But the government seems to be going ahead with its plan regardless.

According to sources in the government, the Railway Board recently wrote to the Union Public Service Commission, asking it to remove railway services from the Central Civil Service Exam, and conduct a separate exam for IRSM.

Also read: Modi govt has a new headache — social media campaigns by unhappy IAS, Railways officers


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